In ancient times, when the night sky was not obscured by artificial lights and smog, cultures in different parts of the world discovered images in the sky by connecting the dots of stars through constellations. They saw bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor). The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which is also the brightest star in the night sky.
In the summer, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets in conjunction with the sun. The ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days.” While this varies somewhat with latitude, today, the dog days occur during the period between mid-July and the end of August.
A different sort of dog days is happening in the workplace. Almost 20% of companies in the United States allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. Many of these are small start-up companies who recognize the need for a flexible work environment or tech firms that seek to capture the interest of prospective employees or to better retain current employees. Some of the benefits they cite for allowing pets in the office are increased staff morale and worker productivity, decreased absenteeism and levels of stress, and greater camaraderie among employees.
Personally, I am all for dogs at work, though I realize it is not for everyone, nor appropriate for every type of business. If you are seriously considering it, be sure to develop and communicate throughout your entire organization a clear policy with guidelines and expectations. Most of the rules will be common sense, but more importantly they will ensure everyone’s comfort and safety.
One of the most important elements of a positive, synergistic and healthy workplace environment is trust. Trust forms the foundation for effective communication and interaction, and provides a solid platform for employee engagement, retention, successful customer experiences, and satisfaction.
Trust goes beyond being able to rely upon someone. It is about character, ability, confidence, strength, faith, and conviction. When trust exists in an organization or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve which is why it’s so critical to build and maintain trust.
Like organizational culture, I believe trust starts at the very top – since trusting and being trust “worthy” can only exist when top management sets the example, and then promulgates that example into every business unit and department. This means establishing and maintaining integrity and communicating your vision and values through word and deed and doing what is right.
How does a successful top-level manager or CEO motivate employees and encourage productivity, while navigating the often-treacherous organizational waters? How do they surpass lofty expectations and deliver impressive results with pitfalls lurking around every corner?
Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite by Mallary Tytel reveals the secrets behind winning executives’ strategies for taking charge effectively of small organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. In clear, easy-to-understand prose that’s loaded with real-life examples, Vision Driven shows experienced and newly minted managers alike the dos, don’ts and don’t-even-think-about-its to take their organization to the next level.
The following are excerpts from Vision Driven: Lessons Learned from the Small Business C-Suite by Mallary Tytel, ©2009, 2013.
From the Introduction:
Being a CEO—or even upper-level officer or manager – is often a larger-than-life position and filled with questions that aren’t answered in an MBA education. Every challenge has multiple solutions, each of which can be right and wrong in a given situation. Therefore it is the questions and context we must pay attention to, and more often than not, that is where the learning and results come from.